Uganda holds inaugural national conference on health promotion and disease prevention – Uganda

Kampala, November 13, 2019: A resounding message emerged from the first Ugandan National Conference on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention which was held from November 6 to 8, 2019 in Kampala: “Primary Health Care (PHC ) are the only way to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the main driver of PHC is health promotion and disease prevention ”.

Convened under the theme “Investing in health promotion and disease prevention to achieve universal health coverage”, the conference brought together participants from local governments, public and private organizations, health promotion practitioners, universities and many others who use the principles of health promotion to positively influence behaviors and improve the health status of Ugandans.

The conference provided an opportunity for participants to learn and collectively share best practices that raise awareness and understand the role of health promotion in achieving UHC. In addition, participants consulted and shared the latest local health promotion research, policies and practices from various health professionals.

“In Uganda, 75% of our disease burden is preventable, which means that in order to have a healthy population we may not need hospitals as much as, as we all know, clinical care are a bottomless chasm that we will never bridge, “said Dr Jane Ruth. Aceng the Minister of Health. She spoke of reducing HIV and AIDS infections as well as rapidly tracking and eliminating epidemics Ebola virus disease in Uganda as prime examples that have widely used health promotion interventions to notable success.

In Uganda, the belief in the effectiveness of health promotion is so high that in fiscal year 2019/2020) the Ministry of Health asked all local governments to allocate 20% of their budget total primary health care (PHC) to disease. prevention and health promotion. “This is a big step forward by the Ugandan government towards intensifying health promotion and education in our communities,” noted Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health in his opening message.

At the conference there were two keynote speakers who had the same vision and belief in what health promotion can do for UHC. In his opening speech titled “The Great Escape,” Dr Githingi Gitahi, Managing Director of Amref Health Africa Group and Co-Chair of the UHC2030 Steering Committee, a World Bank and WHO initiative for UHC highlighted the health-for-all agency in Africa emphasizing the need for equity, innovation and prevention. He advocated for UHC noting that it is about the provision of equitable, sustainable and well-funded health services for all. Dr Gitahi called for the investment, training and use of nurses, midwives and community health workers (CHWs), saying they are essential in a health care system reactive capable of achieving UHC.

Professor Francis Omaswa, cardiovascular surgeon, academic, health administrator and recent recipient of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, stressed the need to mainstream health at all levels of governance, stressing that poverty, population growth and dependency are the main challenges of healthcare in Uganda. He took up issues with some Ugandans who “tolerate the unacceptable, are weak to demand what is rightfully theirs and who do not challenge poor work environments”.

After the two days of deliberations, participants proposed ten key actions that are in tandem with the WHO regional strategy for health promotion adopted in 2012. They include the development of a health promotion policy. , integrating health promotion and disease prevention into all health programs and other sectors, implementing the national roadmap for accelerating community health and developing a costed and evidence-based community health strategy.

Other actions include investing in urban health promotion and disease prevention interventions, strengthening the community health workforce, and developing or revising health sector indicators that measure health outcomes. health promotion and disease prevention. They also agreed to develop a stakeholder engagement plan for health promotion, advocate with universities to strengthen research on health promotion and disease prevention, and ensure costing. and the implementation of the national health communication strategy.

WHO Country Representative Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam succinctly summed up the way forward during a high-level breakfast that crowned the conference. “It took us 41 years recently in Astana to reaffirm the value of PHC and that health, which is a basic human right, can only be achieved through PHC. We must promote and integrate PHC and health promotion in all policies and in all sectors. If we don’t, history will judge us harshly, ”he concluded.

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